If you’re a teacher on a budget, we get it. You’re constantly having to scrimp and save and come up with inventive and cheap projects. And with online learning, the prospect is even more daunting. How can you be sure that your students will have access to materials required for a lesson? How can you make each art class as accessible as possible?
Virtual learning, homeschooling, and hybrid learning models require new levels of flexibility from you and your students. Art class has never looked like this before, and we know that sometimes means scrambling for new ideas, and having to think on your feet. At IPaintMyMind we’re constantly thinking about how to provide relevant, helpful, and robust resources for teachers, parents, and students alike.
(In that vein, check out for our brand new downloadable IPaintMyMind Arts Education Curriculum & Resource Guide: A Comprehensive Creative Experience for e-Learning, Hybrid Learning, and Homeschooling, which just launched!)
Here’s five ideas for super easy and accessible art activities that can be easily transferred to virtual learning formats. Let us know if you incorporate any of them in your classes!
Collage is perfect for distance learning! Everyone has old magazines, newspapers, or paper hanging out around the house. Ask your students to cut out their favorite things, patterns that catch their eye, great color combinations, or whatever suits their fancy. They can then arrange, layer, and align their images to create a mood collage. Ask them to create a collage that represents how they’ve been feeling. That way, when the class presents their collages you can see what your students have been up to and provide a place for them to connect to others, even if they might be physically isolated.
This next option is a great way to get your students out and about. Ask them to go on a walk in their neighborhood and gather flowers and leaves. They can then press their flowers between the pages of a heavy book. After waiting a few days, they’ll have a pressed and preserved flower or leaf! Each student can add these flowers to drawings or collages by gluing them on. You could also ask them to look up what the flowers and leaves that they picked are called and where they usually grow. This is a great way to get familiar with local nature and connect science to art.
Color wheel painting is a super fun way to get your students familiar with color relationships and make-up. If all of your students have red, blue, and yellow, they can blend and mix them to create infinite combos. Ask them to paint their own color wheels, graphs, or tiles!
Mirror self portraits trace back to the beginning of painting’s history! Show your students some examples of famous self portraits, and then ask them to paint or draw their own. They can sit in front of a mirror and draw their head and shoulders. This activity will help you students hone self-reflection skills, life drawing skills, and patience! It can be tricky, but rewarding.
Murals make a city street bright and lively. Public art is part of what makes Chicago great, and keeps people coming back. Your students can create a mural of their own on their block with chalk. They can draw something they love, tell a story, inspire people that pass with uplifting quotes, or create paths and games like hopscotch. Sidewalk art has limitless potential. Ask your students to design something that they would like to see in their neighborhood, or that might bring a smile to someone’s day. In a time of isolation, sidewalk chalk murals can bring us back together.
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